4Licensing Corporation (formerly known as 4Kids Entertainment) is an American film and television production company known for English-dubbing Japanese anime and specializing in the acquisition, production and licensing of children's entertainment around the United States.
The company is most well known for its range of television licenses, which has included the multi-billion dollar Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! Japanese anime franchises. They also ran two program blocks: The CW4Kids on The CW and 4Kids TV stations, both aimed at children. As of December 27, 2008, the 4KidsTV block ended on Fox Network, leaving 4Kids to only broadcast The CW4Kids. On May 19, 2010, the New York Stock Exchange announced that 4Kids would be delisted from its listings. In April, 2011, 4Kids filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. In June 2012 Saban Brands purchased the assets of the company, with 4Kids' New York City offices and the rights to the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise going to Konami, and Saban getting everything else. On December 13, 2012, 4Kids exited their bankruptcy. On December 21, 2012 4Kids was reincorporated as 4Licensing Corporation.
Involvement in Winx Club
4Kids acquired the rights to air Winx Club from Rainbow S.r.l. in 2004 and made an English dub of its own for the show that was aired on 4Kids TV, formerly known as the FoxBox, from May 22, 2004 to December 27, 2008, and on the CW4Kids from July 18, 2009 to July 17, 2010. This dub included many plot changes, as well as many name changes and many other edits thus creating another Winx Club continuity. This was part of the company's effort to adapt Winx Club to an American audience.
In 2007, the license for 4Kids Entertainment expired and was not renewed, and the final rerun of Winx Club ended on July 17, 2010 by the Season 3 finale being announced as the series finale for Winx Club. In 2010, it was announced that Nickelodeon had acquired the rights for Winx Club, and would be co-producing the fifth and sixth seasons along with Rainbow.
Co-Productions with Rainbow S.r.l
Typical EditsA common complaint from fans was centered around 4Kids' tendency to edit some parts of the series programming to make it more appropriate for the American audience it hopes it will achieve. There are a variety of types of edits, which can be broken down into these categories:
- Dialog edit - Sometimes a character's lines are edited so as to change the meaning. For example, in Winx Club - Episode 112 Lucy promised to do the Trix's homework, which was never mentioned in the original.
- Puns - Occasionally, a pun is made in the original that is lost in translation. More commonly, however puns are put in where they were not before, such as in the Winx Club promotional trailer made by 4Kids Bloom says "My life is fairy amazing". Puns were used as well in episode titles, such as Winx Club - Episode 302 "Beauty is a Beast".
- Music edit - All background music and songs were changed. During the transformations, each Winx has a personalized style of music, like Aisha/Layla's pop-disco theme, Shifting Tides
- Cut - Sometimes a scene is removed completely, while the transformation sequences are shortened and sometimes censored for nudity. All Fairy Dust scenes were removed.
- Scene switch - Occasionally scenes are moved around, for example in Winx Club - Episode 101 many of the scenes were played out of order.
- Name changes - 4Kids made many name changes to characters and areas, such as Domino to Sparks, Miele to Rose and Aisha to Layla.
- Plot changes - 4Kids made many plot changes, such as Daphne no longer being Bloom's sister.
- Personality changes - 4Kids changed many of the characters' personalities such Musa being a hip-hopper, Stella being more hot-headed and the Winx, Trix, and Specialists being more like typical teenagers, for example, the Trix act more like typical mean girls and Tecna appearing slightly more tempramental, similar to her comic series self
- Censorship - 4Kids sometimes edited physical appearances of some things such as minor edits like Italian writing being changed to English, blood being removed (Winx Club - Episode 201), as well as major edits such Daphne's outfit being less revealing and in the first transformation sequence the bottom of Stella's breast was edited to make it look like it was her stomach. Some censorship was due to American copyright laws, the costumes in Hallowinx! being a prime example.
- Cultural changes - Scenes relating to Italian culture were often edited to be more accessible to American audiences.
- Opening/Closing - 4Kids created their own opening and used their own music. While the original has its own unique closing, the dub just has a shorter instrumental version of the opening.
- School changes - In this edit, the schools in Magix are high schools rather than colleges, like in the original. This is due to being edited to fit the American culture
Due to the fact that the highly edited 4Kids version of Winx Club was the one that was aired in the United States, some American fans who had previously watched only this version have lately criticized the Nickelodeon dub of Winx Club, which follows the original story line of Winx Club produced by Rainbow S.r.l., for not following the 4Kids dub, which they misinterpreted as being the original version. Fans of the original version have also complained that the version by 4Kids TV does not follow the original story line at all. After the third season, 4Kids lost the rights to dub the series and Rainbow S.r.l. partnered with Nickelodeon and co-produced the fifth and sixth seasons with them while four hour-long special episodes were produced to summarize the first two seasons and the third and fourth seasons were dubbed again by Nickelodeon.